Jointly published by the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) and Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) at Pure Air Control Services, Inc, this study takes a close look at how human skin cells can affect the health of the indoor environment.
Human Skin Cells: A Potential Source of Building Contaminates was made public in July of 2018. It is a 20-page research paper authored by Dr. Rajiv R. Sahay, with support from Rony I. Iraq and Alan L. Wozniak from EDLab and peer reviewed by CABA’s nine-person subcommittee. The paper details how Human Skin Cells are a dominating bio-component of indoor environments that frequently serve as fuel for microbial entities and have been identified as odor producers. Various laboratory techniques were used in the study of the skin cells and other abiogenic and biogenic particulates. A stunning 99 percent of samples collected from both indoor air and surfaces reported positive for human skin cells. The paper goes on to provide background information, demonstrate methods, present results and discussion, as well as supplying a glossary and detailed references for further study.
“Human skin cells are one of the most common pollutants in buildings.” Says Dr. Sahay, “We have found a direct correlation between the skin cells and the microbes that consume them and the production of foul odors and allergen triggers that can proliferate through the HVAC system. We are thankful to CABA for publishing this research as it can help others understand how the management of this contaminant can improve the health and comfort of a building.”
The research concluded that the accumulation of skin cells and the bacterial degradation of them inside of the HVAC system will cause foul odors that can emulate body odor and urine-like smells that are distributed throughout the air conveyance paths in a building. It acknowledged that sourcing and mitigating the issue can be tricky and is best left for professional sampling, testing and diagnosis. Even and especially when the HVAC system and the building seem dust free, yet odor issues persist. The white paper finally recommends ways to minimize human skin cells and the associated bacteria in the HVAC system such as regularly steam cleaning the evaporator coils and the entire interior cabinet, hygienically cleaning the ductwork, using high MERV filtration, and air purification units.
Click HERE to read Human Skin Cells: A Potential Source of Building Contaminants.